Today I am so happy to introduce you to a friend of mine. Christiane, also known as The Mom Chef from the blog Taking on Magazines, is here as a guest today and I just know that you are going to love her and the Soy-Braised Pork and Rice that she has made for us!
I started following her blog mid 2013. I was drawn in by her sense of humor and how her personality shines through in her writing. I could read her posts all day long and I look forward to the Sunday Sip that she posts for us every week. I won’t read the Sip unless I can have a few minutes of peace and quiet. My family wonders why I laugh out loud or “awwwwwww” while I read it, but this is my little indulgence.
She takes the time to make recipes from magazines, you know the ones that you gaze upon fondly but aren’t sure if they’re worth making? She takes them on and lets us know how it went. When I make a recipe that she has tried, I read her notes. She gives a great description of what she liked (or didn’t like) about it and why.
Friends, I would like to introduce you to my friend The Mom Chef.
Soy-Braised Pork and Rice
I survived the winter of 1995 … in Chicago. That may not sound like much, but it was a cold one and the chill began way before it should have, marking temperatures in the negatives as early as December 9.
It was that cold, and the subsequent dismal, sunless days that followed, that helped me make the decision to move out of the Midwest for a climate that more favored my need for more sunshine and less cold.
Believe it or not, before I decided on North Carolina, the Northwest was in the running. I love the rugged, wild land and fell head over heels for the Columbia River Gorge.
There ended up being two things that held me back, however. The first was about 1,200 miles. That’s the difference between Chicago and Seattle and Chicago and where I live now. I wasn’t fond of the weather in the Chicago area, but I love my parents, so moving 2,000 miles away didn’t thrill me.
Then there’s that whole sunshine thing. The Northwest averages over 220 cloudy days a year. In North Carolina, that’s how many sunny days we have. I decided needed my sun.
These are the things I think about when the temperatures here hop up into the 70’s and the sun shines in my windows at 7 pm, while we’re eating a pork and rice bowl for dinner.
It’s a one-pot wonder, my friends. I love those. Yes, this dish takes time and isn’t done in twenty minutes, or even an hour, but recipes that contain the word ‘braise’ rarely do.
Cooking Light’s goal with this little gem was to create a meal that was budget friendly, lower in fat and still delicious.
It all started with almost a pound of pork, cut into bite-sized pieces and seared in a large saucepan. The directions didn’t say to cook the pork in batches, but I recommend doing that to be certain of getting a good sear on the meat.
Once that’s done, the meat’s given a nice long simmer in a combination of garlic, water, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sambal oelek before its removed and the aromatics are cooked for a bit. Add in the rice and the pork, along with more water and some chicken stock and another simmer ensues.
Before too long, the meal was done and dinner went from saucepan to plate. One pot equals happy mama.
This is delicious. And I mean very much so. Both Hubby and I devoured our meals in what seemed like record time. Dudette wasn’t fond of the carrots, which I expected, but she did enjoy the rest of her bowlful. That’s a big win in my book. I thought the prep work was easy and the time in the kitchen was minimal, even though the total time was an hour and a half.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d add salt, at least a teaspoon. I really, really needed some (and I’m not just saying that as a recovering salt addict).
- 4 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
- 12 ounces pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
- 1¾ cups water, divided
- 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- ⅔ cup sliced carrot
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1¾ cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
- Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup water and the next 3 ingredients (through sambal oelek); bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.
- Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and carrot; sauté 3 minutes. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in pork, remaining ¾ cup water, and chicken stock; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with green onions.
I’ve never had regrets about moving south instead of west. That being said, it would have been awesome to live closer to Dionne, this amazing woman who was willing to open her Internet home to me today. Thanks for letting me visit Dionne, and for being such an amazing mom, cook and role model. I want to be like you when I grow up.
Christiane, thank you so much for being a guest here today! It would be so awesome if we were neighbors. I’d invite myself over for dinner and see what you are up to. I’d totally bring dessert! Pork and rice is a bit of a staple where I come from so this is something that I will be trying very soon. I always have pork in the freezer and rice in the pantry. With someone like you by my side, the gloomy days are brighter and the good days are even better. I appreciate you!
I hope you have a great start to your week!